Archive for the ‘The Shack’ Category

Inspirational Walk

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

The local nurseries have been calling me…

All bound for the back garden, just not exactly sure where yet.

The front looks much the same as it did a year ago.

The jasmine growing on the fence was stunted by a lack of water. Some was devoured by gophers. As you can see there is little else of interest. Unless of course I failed to blog about that big boulder destined to have our house numbers.

I tell myself once the trees go in the rest will come to me. I look for inspiration in the neighborhood on my walk, but for one reason or another nothing is just right. Remind you of a certain fairy tale?

Case in point.

Stunning color composition, but all heavily shaded by majestic coastal live oaks. Certainly not my growing conditions.

This is one of my all time favorites, although my choices are not leaning toward cactus and the area is much larger than mine.

Pigmy Date palms under planted with jasmine. Maybe a bit uninspired?

I find these bird of paradise stunning against the white stucco wall. Neither of which I have.

This house was recently sold and the landscaping was completely redone with bougainvillea, flax, rosemary and salvia. It looks too professionally planted just yet.

Clipped box with a row of standard Iceberg roses. Pretty but a bit too manicured for me.

Cypress under planted with red and white roses, yellow kangaroo paws and lavender. Not bad in the Mediterranean and I find the color combination a bit off.

This old hedge was recently limbed up and then under planted with different varieties of flax and Echium. There is something about this I really like. Maybe our recent trip to New Zealand is clouding my judgment.

More flax, agave and ice plant. Nice looking but more suited to a Spanish house.

This newly planted entry looks a little too Disney for my taste.

Lots of beautiful plantings in the neighborhood, but like I said, nothing is just right for our house. If I asked each of these neighbors bet they would say anything beats that bare dirt. The search goes on.


Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

My sister in law sent a text saying she stumbled upon my travel and construction blog last night while on Pinterest. Those simple words made me pull up the blog and look at it as anyone else would and made me realize that I have DIY ADD.

I found that there hasn’t been a house related post sine June. We did take waaaay more trips than we normally do. But I really have been chipping away at the Shack, mostly on the gardens, though not one project is complete enough for a close up. I also realized that my computer has been broken since February. Really Mr.
Stovesand, can it take this long to replace a screen? I can barely send coherent texts with an iPhone much less blog! Case in point, I am re-typing this entire post because I somehow deleted the original one. I am pretty sure the last version was better.

I have a trunk full of plants…

And am on my twentieth or so flat of dymondia. These last two will mean the recycled concrete patio and flagstone path to the hot tub are complete.

Not difficult work but a tad bid tedious. We won’t discuss the mole last week.

The narrow flower bed behind our room is now considerably wider and planted in tropicals. Just needs mulching. The slope in front of the barn was without water and now needs to be re-planted on one side. The other side was grass and impossible to mow. The grass was removed and now has to be planned out. Darn, looks like another trip to the nursery. Grass seed went in two weeks ago and is being guarded from clumsy dogs

With all of these projects so near to completion, I found myself on Pinterest planning the future orchard. I can see why she referred to my travel blog. Add in a new-found addiction to Instagram and I feel like I have been blogging. Looks like I need to finish up a few projects and get back to real blogging. I need a little more DIY and lot less ADD.

Working Hiatus

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

I spent the better part of six weeks back in Ojai teaching kindergarten. The time flew by and I had so much fun with my former colleagues. The blog did suffer although progress on The Shack limped along. I tried to rush back after work to make decisions and some projects I simply chose to postpone for later in the summer when I can be here to be bossy, as the boys like to say.


The hood is finally hooked up with working lights and all. The decision was finally made to box in above the range hood, matching the tongue and groove siding. Six more feet of crown molding is needed to finish it before staining the same color as the siding. Just need to find time to get to the lumber yard.


The rock curbing and driveway widening are complete. Now to choose a gravel color and have it delivered and spread. Right now the dust is unbearable and covering every inch of the house, cars and dogs.


The back patio, which was allowing water to drain under the house, was finally all removed.


Leaving another pile of concrete to add to the one from our first removal of too narrow side walks and some of the patio.


The grass and irrigation all were lost during the grading. Translation: EVEN MORE DUST.


Things were looking up as the patio was laid using the recycled concrete. Stain was chosen, dirt filled the cracks for plants to go in.


Stairs to the barn were going in using the last of the broken boulders. Cherokee flagstone was chosen to top the stairs and make a path to the hot tub (through more dust and dirt). Things were so close to the grass going back in and putting an end to the dust factory.

But then….cue dramatic music…


we had repeated plumbing issues and found the fifty year old, cast iron pipes were past their useful life. Up came the patio. Hold on the stairs. Dig up all the pipes, including going under two sides of the house, and update that dang plumbing. Not. One. Bit. Of. Fun. Can you feel the tension? I never knew Santa Barbara had this much dust.

My first day of summer vacation and this is our view.


Hoping some day soon to be looking at a green lawn and potted plant filled patio before summer has come and gone! With vacations scheduled we might as well just leave and hope little fairies appear to create a beautiful garden while we are away. Or I could stalk Lowe’s and hope Yard Crashers shows up. One can always dream.

Along with the Driveway…

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Since we have my favorite rock guy working to widen the driveway, we decided to finish off a few more things out front.

The first is a pond which had seen better days.

We removed a second pond and connecting stream. The boys all want to demolish it, but I have faith that it can be revived. My only instructions are to make it look good.

The boys also sectioned off an area with old brick, giving me strict instructions to keep out. No plants allowed, is the translation.

The area is at the front of the property and really quite large. They have grand plans for a putting green made from artificial turf. I have not crossed the brick barrier, but maybe after the work is done I can sneak a few plants along the fence line?

We have a California Live Oak that is now filling in nicely. I asked that the base be covered in river rock set in sand. Sounds very Ojai, but I just can’t help myself.

The boulders have been delivered, now they just need to be set, always mindful of the brick barrier I mustn’t cross!

Even though much has yet to be completed, I have begun planting the perimeter bed with Phormium, Echium, Rosemary, Bird of Paradise, Kangaroo Paw and Agave.

Despite the terrible morning light, the plants are predominately yellow, lime green or variegated to stand out against the surrounding hedge.

Also planed is an enclosure to hide the garbage cans from the street and drive.

Could that be anymore unsightly? Even without the refrigerator waiting for Edison to pick up. I am surprised we haven’t been reported!

The view of everything from the opposite direction:

Maybe since we are moving along, ever so slowly, our neighbors haven’t lost patience, yet.

Driveway Widening

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Wishing this road widening had a sign reading…your tax dollars at work. It is a much needed improvement for the oft occasion when we have guests on our one way drive. Four feet or so will make it possible for two cars to just squeeze through and avoid the car version of musical chairs.

We began here, once also shrouded by bamboo on either side. We added grass to the once hidden, weedy field, leaving a dirt boarder for the future drive.

Our plan was to match the work done on the opposite side around the rose garden.

We originally replaced the rotting railroad ties with a Santa Barbara sandstone cut from large boulders. Though beautiful the stone is, it is costly, so the remainder will be made from boulders trucked in from Ojai. A little bit of home in SB.

The boulders are broken into blocks and finally going in this week.

I decided to include a surprise house warming gift from my dearest teacher friends in Ojai.

He will be just inside the gate to welcome guests and bring a smile to my face every time I come and go. Everything is in the messy stage, but soon enough things will be tidier than ever.

Kitchen Details

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

By the shear number of posts, you might be guessing that I love my kitchen. I also loved my old kitchen in Ojai, but the size of this one allows me to have all of my things close at hand rather than in the guest house or laundry room.

We updated the kitchen that had only been remodeled once in the eighties, keeping the same layout, replacing all of the doors and making a few changes to make it more functional for the way we live.

The old kitchen had a book shelf for my cookbooks. This one was built into space formerly used as a breakfast bar. I decided to eliminate it since we have a dining table that seats ten in the same room, once used as both eating area and family room.

The maximum overhang without using supports was added to the adjoining side of the L-shaped island if we should ever decide to use bar stools. So far we haven’t felt the need for any. Silestone counter tops replaced navy tile with black grout.

One single wall oven in black was replaced by double ovens in stainless.

The four burner cooktop with downdraft was replaced with an eight burner and industrial hood. Huge drawers now house all of my pots in one location rather than stashed under furniture and in other rooms.

A trash compactor was squeezed into the island.

Two standard refrigerators on two walls were replaced by one big enough for everything.

A second window seat was replaced by a desk. No, it never looks this clean. Yes, I want to take a hammer and scissors to the boxes which make cable, phone, cell reception and wifi possible at The Shack.

The adjoining small eating/ family room area was converted all to dining space. This could be my favorite change as we finally have the space for the entire family to gather at a moments notice. Notice the television, soon to be hung, which I have tuned to HGTV or The Food network most of the time. Of course sports are on when the males descend upon my space.

Wood floors in hickory replaced linoleum and shag carpet. Jute rug and eight foot runner from World Market help to keep the wood floors cleaner.

Home Goods bulletin boards were hung next to the fridge for school photos and sports schedules.

A single light door replaced an old aluminum slider and made way for the fridge.

The ceiling went from grey to a bright white. The wood panel was lightened. Finally, more beachy accessories, some old and some new have been added as a finishing touch.

I had intended to include a full kitchen after shot, but there never seems to be a clean, clutter-free shot. Since I was away and then back to work for the past five weeks my posts have been non-existent. So I had better post this and add an after shot later. Besides, very soon I will be hosting an amazing photographer at the Shack. Hint. Hint.

Knobs and Pulls

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

We now can easily open up the kitchen cabinets! Let’s see where we began, after everything was painted.

The suspended, upper cabinets with white paint and clear glass to show the tea pots and green Depression glass collection.


More upper cabinets, all in white.

Green lower cabinets on the island.

Lots of pot drawers under the stove and

and storage under the sink.
And now….


All of the upper cabinets got glass knobs with a bronze base.



The lower cabinets have large bronze knobs and three sizes of pulls on the drawers. All very simple and I love them!

Now I need to select a backsplash, just can’t seem to make a final decision….

Kitchen Inching Along

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

I tell Kirk each morning that I will be spending the day chipping away at the kitchen clutter. Tiny chips though they may be, we are getting closer.

Tomorrow the knobs and pulls go on!

Twenty five of these bronze knobs for the lower, green doors.

Thirty three pulls in three lengths for the drawers.

Twenty two of these glass beauties for the upper, white cabinets – my favorite. Add that all up and we should have enough doors and drawers to store plenty, right? One would think.

The hallway pile is down to this. A few destined for Marlin’s first college apartment, one for donation and two to go in the hall library storage.

And these, destined for the shop, mostly contain Pyrex Fruit pieces without a home. Not quite ready to part with the collection that was gathered over years. ..yet anyway.

The truck is completely loaded with those things I am willing to part with. Progress!

Very soon these drawers and doors will be much easier to open!

Where was all of this?

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Apparently screens cost more to replace than buying another computer. Not sure what the fate of my laptop is after closing the screen on a pen. I guess another post from my iPhone is in order. Here goes…

The kitchen painting finally wrapped up last Monday. I have been steadily chipping away at the piles of boxes. Some have been stored for two years, since we listed our Ojai house. Others were boxed when we sold our house a year ago summer and sent to Podville. Others made the cut for the rental, only to be boxed up and moved to Santa Barbara three months later. No matter when they originally were taped and labeled, they have been stacked all around the house waiting for the kitchen to be complete. One year and three months later that day arrived. Not that I am counting.

Boxes were piled in the hall, in the game room and still more in the shop. Some for so long I couldn’t even recall what the contents could possibly be. Slowly, I am making my way through them. Alas, the cupboards in my much larger kitchen have filled up far too quickly.

I unpacked, filled the island with the spoils, rearranged the cabinets to wedge in more and attempted to purge.

This pile is destined for someone else’s home. I am toying with the idea of having a very belated housewarming where guests take my things home rather than bring something. Obviously, nothing needs to be added to this house. Friends from Ojai visited yesterday and they commented that the new kitchen is less Tuscany, more beachy. That was my intent, but it leaves a lot of homeless chickens.

My grandmother’s china is finally out and on display in the hutch that has been empty for far too long. You may notice the addition of some ivy pieces, but that’s another post.

The Depression Glass and teapot collection are now in the cabinets suspended above the island. This cabinet has caused much discussion over the past year, about 50/50, for and against, keeping it. There are no corners in our kitchen so grandma’s corner cabinet is in the game room – not the best place for glassware.

Not empty though. So I am still wondering where all of this came from. With a few boxes still to be opened, thinking a dumpster is in order and too much on the island that remains without a storage spot. My niece said, ” At least it is nice stuff.” Even I am beginning to wonder.

Technical Difficulties

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

I closed a pen in the laptop and ruined the screen. Waiting patiently for it to be repaired.

Also waiting less patiently for kitchen to be finished. Unpacking as I am able and quickly filling the cupboards.

Thinking about the list of items left to do:

Paint trim and doors.
Install quarter round at cabinet base.
Install door and drawer knobs and pulls.
Hang light over island.
Buy more LED strips for cabinet tops.
Install glass in upper cabinets.
Find chandelier for dining area.
Unpack remainder of boxes.

Now that sounds like a lot, but as we are in the fifth week of painting, the rest sounds less daunting.

I would include a few pictures, but can’t really figure out how on this tiny phone. Bad, bad blogger!